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End of Year Stress Busters

Posted 9/27/2017 by UHBlog

Managers can help keep productivity up and employee spirits positive during the holidays by helping to manage workplace stress. Talk to us about strategies that work.

End of Year Stress Busters

Are November and December hectic months for your workplace? Many organizations are busy with shipping customer orders, completing end-of-year deadlines, budgeting for next year, finalizing performance reviews and planning other activities. When you add holiday festivities into the mix, it can be a very stressful time of year.

In the workplace, job stress is estimated to cost American businesses approximately $300 billion a year. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize these work-life stressors for employees, says yoga therapist and meditation instructor Dawn Miller, MA.

“While it may be nearly impossible to alleviate holiday-related stress among your employees, you can do things that will help with employee wellness and stress reduction at this time of year,” Miller says.

To kick holiday stress to the curb, Miller offers these end-of-the-year stress busters:

  • Change-up the holiday party. Often, employers schedule holiday parties outside of work hours, such as on a weekend or after work. For many people, adding one more social obligation this time of year can become burdensome. Instead, find a way to make the party align with your company’s wellness initiatives.
    “There are other options that can help your employees relax and feel appreciated,” Miller says. “One idea is to hire a massage therapist to provide chair massages for employees.”
  • Rethink which snacks to offer. Too often, food choices during this time of year aren't nutritious. These high-fat, high-sugar foods can lead to overeating or comfort eating, causing bloatedness and irritability.
    Make sure the company party and cafeteria – as well as the countertop by the office coffee pot – are stocked with nutritious foods too, not just treats that cause people’s blood sugar to spike and crash later.
  • Support a charity. If your office typically does a holiday gift exchange, consider doing something that doesn't involve a trip to the mall.
    “Choose a charity or someone in the department who is facing an overwhelming issue, such as a medical issue,” Miller says. “Employees can contribute anonymously and help someone in need.”
  • Encourage wellness breaks. “During the holidays, it’s especially important to take time for wellness,” Miller says. “One simple strategy is a deep-breathing break, perhaps at the beginning of a meeting, to clear your head and mind.’
  • Show appreciation. Employees want to know they are valued and appreciated, Miller says. If you typically do this as part of your holiday party, think about ways to build employee recognition into your regular staff meetings.
    “People need to feel appreciated,” she says. “It’s even more important during this stressful season, and it doesn’t have to be formal or at a party.”
  • Be flexible whenever you can. Depending on your work environment, that might translate into things such as:
    • Dress-down Friday
    • Casual dress during slower holiday periods, such as Thanksgiving or the final two weeks of the year
    • Flex time or more time off
  • Plan for 2018. Targeted programs that teach employees techniques they can use to control stress’s impact on their lives are a good idea. University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network offers several of these types of programs, including Stress Management and Resilience Training (S.M.A.R.T.) – recognized as a 2016 Crain’s Health Care Hero for improving the lives and health of those in Northeast Ohio – and mindfulness, yoga and meditation classes.

If you’re interested in stress management training for your workplace, connect with University Hospitals Employer Solutions for more information.

Dawn Miller, MA, is a certified yoga therapist, registered Viniyoga yoga teacher, Stress Management and Resilience Training (S.M.A.R.T.) instructor and meditation instructor at University Hospitals Connor Integrative Medicine Network. You can request an appointment with Miller or any other health care provider online.

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